With asbestos present in about one in every three homes in Australia, it is no surprise that the removal of asbestos is a common subject during client consultations at Defence Pest and Building Inspections.
Despite warnings about the dangers of asbestos, however, many homeowners are still not well-informed about its health risks and the legal requirements for the removal and management of asbestos.
And with November being the month of Asbestos Awareness, our team at Defence Pest and Building Inspections joins in helping raise understanding on the impact of asbestos on health and on the proper methods of asbestos management.
Some Facts About Asbestos
- Asbestos is a group of minerals mainly composed of silicon and oxygen, and is most distinct for its fibrous form. The mining of asbestos was widespread until the 1900s, when it was discovered to be toxic to health.
- Due to its fire-resistant, heat-resistant and binding properties, asbestos was a popular material in the building and construction industry.
- In homes, asbestos can be found as materials on walls and wall coverings, ceilings, floor tiles, insulated pipes and window glaze.
- Inhalation of asbestos or contact on skin can be hazardous. The health risks include cancer of the lining of the chest (mesothelioma), lung cancer and the scarring of lungs caused by inhaling asbestos fibres (asbestosis).
- The use of asbestos has been permanently banned in Australia since 1987 and there is a continuous push to remove asbestos from every home that contains such materials.
Is My Home Free from Asbestos?
If your house was built before the total ban of asbestos, there is a chance that it contains asbestos. While it cannot be easily determined through visual inspection, our licensed inspectors can help with identifying materials and areas where asbestos is present, using the appropriate equipment.
What to Do if My Home Contains Asbestos?
To guard your family against health risks, it is recommended that asbestos be removed from your property. The long-term effects of prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to malignant conditions. Since airborne particles cannot be seen by the naked eye, there is an increased risk if asbestos materials become damaged without your knowledge.
When it comes to asbestos management, you have to take into consideration that only licensed individuals are allowed to remove large amounts of asbestos. Doing it on your own may put you and your family’s health in danger.
What If I Don’t Have The Asbestos Removed?
We have encountered property owners who prefer to not have asbestos removed. The most common reason is that they do not require renovation and the removal process may only incur costs. However, the cost of inspection and removal is minute compared to the health risks of keeping asbestos in your home.
Furthermore, accidental damage, a small hole in the wall, or broken materials can release the toxic fibres, increasing your risk to exposure and diseases – all of which can be avoided if asbestos is completely removed from your property.